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Old 29-04-2016, 07:45   #31
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Generalizations are dangerous

Quote:
Originally Posted by denverd0n View Post
Do the same sort of thing in a store in a French-speaking area, owned by a French speaker, who also speaks English, and there is a fair chance that they will just ignore you--they expect you to at least make some effort (and, frankly, I don't blame them one little bit)...... Most especially, remember to start with "bonjour" when you walk into any store or restaurant in French-speaking territories.
By 2016 English will be spoken by almost half of the Planet, in my own opinion it shows a certain tendency to say English is THE language of boating and sailing.
Number of people mastering the language as a mother tongue or second language : English and Chinese (Mandarin & Cantonese) share the first position, followed by Hindi (over 500 million), Spanish (460 million), Arab (300 million), Bengali (260 million), Portuguese (200 million), Indonesian (170 million), French (130 million), German (120 million.).

"in a store in a French-speaking area, owned by a French speaker, who also speaks English, and there is a fair chance that they will just ignore you--they expect you to at least make some effort".

As is often the case, the central issue is the "spirit of generalization" which always categorizes people in stereotypes and prejudices. Some people take but one example then are drawing conclusions based on that.

Moreover I know that common beliefs die hard, like they says the French have the lowest possible level in English, the French dislike the English, etc.. etc.

All of this is simply ridiculous.

Let me say a word on this subject :
It was just my parents' generation when the WWII happened. After 4 years of a very bad war, the cities and countryside were mostly destroyed, the priority tasks to be carried out by the French (and other Europeans as well) were to achieve peace, rebuild the country, find work quickly so they can feed their families. Not many people had chance of either pursuing their schooling and to be able to have the benefit of higher education then for this generation most of them do not speak English.
But from one generation to the next, life was very different. Since 1960 English is taught to 90% of pupils at French schools from the sixth grade of basic education up to the end of high school, then since 1980 to the end of university for those lucky enough to enroll in the university system. Now there are far more likely French speaking English than Americans speaking French.

But once again common beliefs die hard, sadly I am in a good position to talk about this. Last month I leaved with a heavy heart the (excellent and interesting) TrawlerForum for the reason I finally was tired of some posts criticizing also insulting the French with the deafening silence of the moderators and staff, where a "mini-hysteria" anti-French was not far away.
This bad experience brings me to say that only the way how people communicate with each other is important, language does not really matter.

Any language issue can be solved between people of different nationality and culture who BOTH show goodwill, common sens and courtesy. I am regular visitor in the U.S., my best friends are Americans, I have always appreciated and valued the ease of communication with which my mother and my wife (very low level in English) initiated contact in shops, restaurants, and city streets thanks to the courtesy and the gentleness of the people there. I had the same nice experiences in European countries, Canada, Australia, China, Japan, Central and South America, etc..

As boat owners, we understand about engines, weather forecast, wind, chart plotter, radar, many electronic devices, batteries, how to safely anchoring, then it is not difficult to learn our lines in "Hello, thank you for your help, goodbye and have a nice day" in the language in the country in which we are visiting.

Once again, only the way how people communicate with each other is important, language does not really matter.
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Old 29-04-2016, 08:45   #32
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Re: Best second language

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Originally Posted by denverd0n View Post
That is, if you walk into a store in a Spanish-speaking area, owned by a Spanish speaker, who also speaks English, and just start yakking away in English, they probably won't be too offended and will respond to you in English. Do the same sort of thing in a store in a French-speaking area, owned by a French speaker, who also speaks English, and there is a fair chance that they will just ignore you--they expect you to at least make some effort (and, frankly, I don't blame them one little bit).
Was in Paris on business with a French friend who is from southern France. Even he was saying that the people in Paris were short and not overly friendly. However I did exactly as you suggest. Even though my French is limited to a few words and very basic phrases (where is the toilet/metro/hotel) in any encounter I first said bon jour, maybe how are you followed by Je ne parle pas français which always felt odd since I was saying in French that I don't speak French.

With one exception in every encounter and interaction, even asking strangers on the street for directions, all were friendly, helpful and polite.

I read a book about France that had a theory on this phenomenon. To the French they are at home and you are a visitor. Even an employee, waiter or clerk in a store, since they spend as much time at work as home view their workplace as an extension of their home. When you enter another person's home it is just polite to greet them before proceeding with a discussion.

I always do the same with Spanish speakers who almost always went straight to English since they were trying to learn the language anyway and it was usually obvious their English would be better than my Spanish anyway. Of course it made it harder for me to practice and improve my Spanish.
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Old 29-04-2016, 08:58   #33
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Re: Best second language

china is buying all planet...might wanna learn cantonese and mandarin as well as french and spanish and mebbe russian...... dont know who will be owning entire planet in a few years at this rate, it aint gonna be in english. funny it prolly wont be french either, but french is so beautiful when properly spoken.
looks like english now, but dont turn yer back.
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Old 29-04-2016, 09:42   #34
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Re: Generalizations are dangerous

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Originally Posted by omc View Post
By 2016 English will be spoken by almost half of the Planet, in my own opinion it shows a certain tendency to say English is THE language of boating and sailing.
Number of people mastering the language as a mother tongue or second language : English and Chinese (Mandarin & Cantonese) share the first position, followed by Hindi (over 500 million), Spanish (460 million), Arab (300 million), Bengali (260 million), Portuguese (200 million), Indonesian (170 million), French (130 million), German (120 million.).
...
I would not put Mandarin (Chinese) au pair with English. It is clearly the 1st language with more than 1 billion speakers (1st and 2th language) and also the language with a faster increase. It has more than the double of the speakers compared to English.

In medium to long term certainly Mandarin will be a very usefull language to learn.

Regarding western languages English is the most spoken language with 508 million speakers (1st and 2nd languages) but the Spanish (Castillian) is growing faster with 417 millions already. The third one is Russian with 277 millions (1st and 2th) and then Portuguese with 191 millions (1st and 2th) also growing fast.


Since Spanish and Portuguese are close languages and generally Portuguese understand Spanish and vice versa, learning one of the two Iberia languages will mean to be understood by 650 millions, but I will agree that it all depends on the regions one wants to sail.
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Old 29-04-2016, 09:51   #35
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Re: Best second language

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Was in Paris on business with a French friend who is from southern France. Even he was saying that the people in Paris were short and not overly friendly. ...
Among French friends at a party on the Armagnac region I was surprised by a guy being very pissed because the others were calling him a Parisian. I was not understanding why he was pissed and I asked the guy next to me if the guy was a Parisian and what was that all about. He explained to me that he was not a Parisian but that locally calling someone a Parisian was the same to call him dumb or stupid
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Old 29-04-2016, 10:16   #36
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Re: Best second language

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English is probably more widely spoken as a second language than all other languages combined, so with that you have a good start, anyway!
I'm from New York originally. Many of my friends have suggested I learn English as a second language! :bi ggrin:
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Old 29-04-2016, 10:33   #37
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Re: Best second language

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I'm from New York originally. Many of my friends have suggested I learn English as a second language! :bi ggrin:
That was funny !
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Old 29-04-2016, 10:42   #38
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Re: Generalizations are dangerous

Quote:
Originally Posted by omc View Post
By 2016 English will be spoken by almost half of the Planet, in my own opinion it shows a certain tendency to say English is THE language of boating and sailing.
Number of people mastering the language as a mother tongue or second language : English and Chinese (Mandarin & Cantonese) share the first position, followed by Hindi (over 500 million), Spanish (460 million), Arab (300 million), Bengali (260 million), Portuguese (200 million), Indonesian (170 million), French (130 million), German (120 million.).

"in a store in a French-speaking area, owned by a French speaker, who also speaks English, and there is a fair chance that they will just ignore you--they expect you to at least make some effort".

As is often the case, the central issue is the "spirit of generalization" which always categorizes people in stereotypes and prejudices. Some people take but one example then are drawing conclusions based on that.

Moreover I know that common beliefs die hard, like they says the French have the lowest possible level in English, the French dislike the English, etc.. etc.

All of this is simply ridiculous.

Let me say a word on this subject :
It was just my parents' generation when the WWII happened. After 4 years of a very bad war, the cities and countryside were mostly destroyed, the priority tasks to be carried out by the French (and other Europeans as well) were to achieve peace, rebuild the country, find work quickly so they can feed their families. Not many people had chance of either pursuing their schooling and to be able to have the benefit of higher education then for this generation most of them do not speak English.
But from one generation to the next, life was very different. Since 1960 English is taught to 90% of pupils at French schools from the sixth grade of basic education up to the end of high school, then since 1980 to the end of university for those lucky enough to enroll in the university system. Now there are far more likely French speaking English than Americans speaking French.

But once again common beliefs die hard, sadly I am in a good position to talk about this. Last month I leaved with a heavy heart the (excellent and interesting) TrawlerForum for the reason I finally was tired of some posts criticizing also insulting the French with the deafening silence of the moderators and staff, where a "mini-hysteria" anti-French was not far away.
This bad experience brings me to say that only the way how people communicate with each other is important, language does not really matter.

Any language issue can be solved between people of different nationality and culture who BOTH show goodwill, common sens and courtesy. I am regular visitor in the U.S., my best friends are Americans, I have always appreciated and valued the ease of communication with which my mother and my wife (very low level in English) initiated contact in shops, restaurants, and city streets thanks to the courtesy and the gentleness of the people there. I had the same nice experiences in European countries, Canada, Australia, China, Japan, Central and South America, etc..

As boat owners, we understand about engines, weather forecast, wind, chart plotter, radar, many electronic devices, batteries, how to safely anchoring, then it is not difficult to learn our lines in "Hello, thank you for your help, goodbye and have a nice day" in the language in the country in which we are visiting.

Once again, only the way how people communicate with each other is important, language does not really matter.
Hi Olivier,

Sorry to hear about your unpleasant experience on the trawler forum. Try not to take it as prejudice or dislike for the French by Americans in general as I see similar rudeness on other forums between US citizens. I think in some degree it is a symptom of the anonymity of the internet that sometimes brings out the worst in some people.

If it helps to compensate for the bad manners elsewhere I am happy to say that my several trips to France, mostly on business with a little pleasure in between, have been universally pleasant and the people all friendly, gracious and helpful. With one, very minor exception, from Marseilles to Calais the people I met went out of their way to be helpful and speak the best English they could manage to this uneducated American.

I cannot wait to go back and spend a bit more time now that I'm retiring and can do so. Also hope to learn a least enough French to carry on a simple conversation.
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Old 29-04-2016, 10:47   #39
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Re: Best second language

hay that noo yoahrk thing is real.many west coasters are unable to understand anyone with anything other than kahhlifornia non accent.
ny-ers also have speed talking on their side.......
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Old 29-04-2016, 11:18   #40
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Re: Best second language

"...By 2016 English will be spoken by almost half of the Planet..."

???

Wiki quotes 1.5b and this includes some 600m of students that do not speak the language only study it. Given world population around 7b how can the quote be true?

BTW Even given my minimum knowledge of French, 'bonjour' alone is not how they say it. They normally say 'bojour monsieur / madame' etc. Languages are not about translating single words, they are about expressing our intentions in the foreign context.

b.
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Old 29-04-2016, 11:27   #41
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Re: Best second language

My first language was DOS but now I'm up to IOS 9.3.1.


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Old 29-04-2016, 12:13   #42
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Re: Best second language

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My first language was DOS but now I'm up to IOS 9.3.1.


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Newbie. My first language was BASIC on punch cards.

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Old 29-04-2016, 12:14   #43
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Re: Best second language

You must be even older than me!


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Old 29-04-2016, 12:23   #44
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Re: Best second language

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You must be even older than me!


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Old 29-04-2016, 12:29   #45
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Re: Best second language

BASIC is so prosaic, now FORTRAN on punchcards, that was something
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